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Austin-based Hizballah-linked nightclub owners convicted

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  • Austin-based Hizballah-linked nightclub owners convicted

    Actually, two have been convicted by a jury for using their nightclubs to launder the proceeds of drug and weapons deals, one was acquitted of money laundering but has pled guilty to a drug trafficking charge, and one of those convicted of money laundering has now been charged with tax evasion. And that's not to mention the failure to pay state liquor taxes and fees, the unsolved murder of a one-time business partner, and various immigration-related issues. Money was transferred in to a relative and known Hizballah operative in Lebanon, and there are strong ties to the Lebanese expat community in Cote d'Ivoire.

    Oh, and at least one of these guys still has a Facebook account complete with 2,000+ friends.

    Hussein Ali (Mike) Yassine

    Mohammed Ali (Steve) Yassine

    Hadi Ali Yassine

    Karim Faiq
    Asymmetric Warfare: It's not just for the other guys.

  • #2
    News reports and summary

    Austin nightclub impresario Mike Yassine funneled money to terrorists?

    Arrested were brothers Hussein Ali Yassine a/k/a Mike, Mohammed Ali Yassine a/k/a Steve a/k/a Steve Austin, and Hadi Yassine along with a number of other associates. The Yassines are Lebanese.

    An IRS agent testified that the Yassine brothers wired money to their uncle Mohammed Ishmael in Lebanon. Ishmael is believed to be connected to the terrorist group Hezbollah. Hezbollah (the party of God) is also the ruling political party in Lebanon and is a supporter of Iran and Syria.
    Mike evidently has US citizenship, Steve is a citizen of Cote d'Ivoire and legal resident of the USA, and Hadi was found to not have a valid passport (but he did have a fake Saudi Arabian drivers license).

    Investigators link nightclub owner, associates to drug deals, militant Islamic group, homicide case

    Adds that one of the arrestees (Alejandro "Cueta" Melendrez) is connected to the Texas Syndicate prison gang. Regarding the searches conducted at the time these gents were arrested:
    During raids on the suspects' homes and businesses last week, investigators said they seized more than 400 boxes of evidence.
    They also report finding $200,000 in cash in a safe at the Yassine Enterprises offices on West Fourth Street, as well as cashier's checks totaling $45,000 made out to a member of the Yassine family in Lebanon. That man is associated with Hezbollah, IRS agent James Neff testified.
    In addition to the nightclubs, Hadi Yassine started vodka distillery (branded as "Famous Vodka"), with $100,000 in drug money provided to him by Mike.

    The following are a summary of the initial charges:
    1. Hussein Ali ‘Mike' Yassine: Conspiracy to launder monetary instruments and money laundering; also a ‘person of interest' in an unsolved Austin homicide
    2. Mohammed Ali ‘Steve' Yassine: Money laundering, conspiracy and distribution of cocaine, transferring a firearm to be used in a crime
    3. Karim Faiq: Conspiracy and distribution of cocaine
    4. Alejandro ‘Cueta' Melendrez: Distribution of cocaine
    5. Edgar Orsini: Conspiracy and distribution of cocaine
    6. Nizar ‘Nino' Hakiki: Conspiracy and distribution of cocaine, transferring a firearm to be used in a crime
    7. Marisse Marthe Ruales: Conspiracy to launder monetary instruments and money laundering
    8. Amar Thabet Araf: Conspiracy and distribution of cocaine
    9. Sami Derder: Conspiracy and distribution of cocaine
    10. Hadi Ali Yassine: Conspiracy to launder monetary instruments and money laundering.

    Oct. 1 trial date set in Yassine case

    Adds details regarding the money the Yassines owe the State of Texas, and also notes that one of the co-conspirators, Karim Faiq, had disappeared after being released on bail.

    Trials begin Monday in Yassine Enterprises case

    Melendrez pled guilty to drug trafficking charges over the summer, and was sentenced to 46 months plus 3 years probation.

    The list of witnesses to be called at trial included both Arabic and French linguists.

    Mike Yassine is (and apparently has been for some time) a person of interest in the murder of Paresh Patel, a former business partner.
    Austin homicide cold case detective Angel Hernandez said Friday that nothing new has developed in the Patel case, and it remains under investigation. She said detectives were hoping that some new details about Patel’s disappearance would emerge during the Yassine investigation and court proceedings, but that has not happened yet.

    Two of three Yassine brothers found guilty of money laundering

    Mike and Hadi were convicted of money laundering by a jury, while Steve beat that rap. However, Steve has other charges pending.

    Club owner Mike Yassine accused of filing false tax returns

    The Feds have, among other things, an audio recording of Mike saying his nightclubs brought in about $12,000,000 a year, while his tax returns reported significantly less income.

    Steve Yassine pleads guilty to drug charge

    He pled guilty to a single count of cocaine distribution, and prosecutors are recommending a year and a day sentence, to be followed by deportation back to the Ivory Coast.

    Accelerated movement in Yassine court cases

    Karim Faiq turned up in Honduras, where he was arrested and shipped back to the USA to face various drug charges.
    Asymmetric Warfare: It's not just for the other guys.


    • #3
      "2 Austin Brothers Sentenced for Money Laundering" -AP via

      Background Link:



      SNIPPET: "Hussein Ali "Mike" Yassine was sentenced to a little more than 12 1/2 years in federal prison, while Hadi Yassine drew a 5-year prison term on Friday."

      (January 25, 2013)